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Name and Ancient History

Some of the major records sources that can be used for genealogy research in Wales include:. Facebook Twitter. Why Choose Genealogists.

Wales Genealogists. They can search the archives and libraries in Wales, including: National Library of Wales Church, nonconformist, court, probate, census, tax, land records, newspapers, maps, photographs, pictures, manuscripts National Archives at Kew Millions of historical documents created and collected by UK central government departments and major courts of law.

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Includes military service records, naturalization certificates, church record, passenger lists, emigration and immigration records Office for National Statistics formerly known as General Register Office Birth, marriage, and death certificates present for all of Wales British Library Collects all materials published in Wales and England.

One of the two largest libraries in the world other is Library of Congress.

Wales Genealogy & Wales Family History Resources -

Whether you agree or disagree with the techniques and tips in here, it may make you think about your existing practices. This is not a 'how to do it' menu so much as recipes born of years of experience in researching, teaching and writing about genealogy and local history. Nor is it the only way to approach research, but it is intended to help readers avoid some of the common pitfalls, and get the best out of their time and energies. Individual chapters may suggest a research strategy or source not previously considered, or a new approach to a long-standing problem. History is the great destroyer — it destroys reputations, illusions, myths and vanities; it reminds us that we are all mortal and passing; it teaches us that we have little control over our actions and their consequences, our destinies and even our motives.

We have no hand in choosing our ancestors, and little over our descendants' choice of friends and spouses. Each of us is the product of our genes, our immediate family environment, our society and the influence of the wider world.

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Even our deepest-held beliefs, prejudices and bigotries dissolve when put under the microscope of history, and our seemingly complex human world is much like an ant colony when viewed from a sufficient distance. But where genealogy differs from history per se is that it moves the focus away from the grand sweep of civilisations and larger social groups to the lives and actions of individuals and immediate families. It is often as far from the 'Great Man' view of history the way it used to be taught lists of kings and battles as a cat is from a queen.

Those interested in history itself often find it is best illuminated when seen through the life of one person, an ancestor with whom we have some commonality of feeling by virtue of no more than a shared surname or location, or a half-remembered family story. However, the majority of such people led quiet, blameless lives and left very few traces, and almost all sources of biography come from collision with the authorities.

This tends to be for purposes of registration birth, marriage, death, census, taxes, poor relief etc. All of these generated records, which may still exist in some form, or at least as indexes or abstracts. Being a small country, the set of records available in Wales is approximately one-twentieth of that of England, and is therefore of manageable proportions. Welsh genealogy is, to that extent, easier. However, there is far more to Welsh genealogy than merely searching for vital data in the old parish registers OPRs — baptism, marriage and burial records from the s to , statutory records births, marriages and deaths from and the decennial censuses from The parish registers, by definition, only start with the birth of the Reformation in the s, and only deal with the Established Church.

Catholics, Episcopalians, the many Nonconformists in Wales and those who simply chose not to take part in parish registration the nobility, often are completely ignored until much later. Those registers that exist may not be easy to access. Equally, records of burials were not considered important until well after the Reformation, since it was only after that time that bodily resurrection at the last trump became an issue — before this, the location of physical remains hardly mattered except for royalty or anyone likely to achieve sainthood and therefore be a source of relics and an object of veneration.

Even then, the parish registers are incomplete. So, before the s, family history can become murky. However, names were often recorded in charters, especially when feudally held lands were passed on, or where grants of land, titles or other inheritances held of the sovereign had to be recorded. There were also records of pedigree and coats of arms in heraldic records, which are a rich source of name and place information. Most genealogical research stalls somewhere in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. Between the s and the s to s the beginning of statutory registration, the censuses and much else, as the Victorians set about organising a secular society not everyone will be recorded, especially Nonconformists and the poor, particularly in both the sparsely populated areas and the densely packed centres of very large towns and cities.

Remember that it was mainly baptisms not births which were noted in the parish registers, and the same goes for the other sacraments — proclamation of marriage banns rather than the marriage itself, and burial or mort-cloth shroud rental rather than death.

Getting Started

Even after the s, the records are incomplete. Not everyone was captured; there were considerable movements into, out of and within Wales; surname and place name variants and Welsh spellings were commonly recorded haphazardly — so they give a partial picture of an individual's life.

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At best, the researcher can get a person's given name at birth plus a date and place, and the names, address and possibly occupations of the parents and their date of marriage; the announcement of banns pre or registration of a marriage may include the place, and the names and occupations of both spouses, and those of both sets of parents, plus names of witnesses; and at death, the place and time of death are given, and often the cause, with the names and occupations of the deceased's parents and of the registrant witness.

Such scraps can be filled in with census information from every decade between and For example, someone who was born in , married in and died in , will usually be able to be identified, along with their parents, spouse and spouse's parents, from BMD records; and all of these people can be further identified in the snapshots from the censuses of to This may take us back to the birth of that person's parents in the early s and of their parents if alive in , that is, to or so. But such scraps of information leave much to be told. Were they rich or poor?

Wales Background. Local Research Resources. Wales Research Tools Links to articles and websites that assist in Wales research. Powys Mid Glamorgan Gwent. Powys Rhondda Cyon Taf Monmouthshire. Gwynedd Conwy. Carmarthenshire Pembrokeshire.

Frequently Used Websites

Clwyd Powys. Denbighshire Flintshire Wrexham Conwy. Flintshire Denbighshire Wrexham.